One of the most important things you can do before getting a new web design is writing out exactly why you need it. Don’t think too hard. Open a new document, or get out a pen and paper, and just write down why you want to call a web designer now. I’ll wait.
What did you write? Some common reasons for a new web design:

  • need to update text or pictures
  • business under new management
  • new logo and branding
  • old and out of date website

Whatever your reason, I’m glad you’re thinking about it! That’s the first step towards a fresh start. The second step toward a great new web design? Do not, I repeat, do not immediately get a new web design.
Key word: immediately. There are four things you need to do before you start.

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Make a Web Design Wish List
If you wake up in the middle of the night needing a new web design, please go back to bed. Call me in the morning. But if you just can’t sleep, one of the first things you can do for your new website is make a new web design wish list. Think of everything your new website needs to do and be to satisfy your vision.
List the features your website needs. Things like an event calendar, blog, photo galleries, online forms, food and drink menus, Meet the Team page, testimonials and more. What do you want your website to do? What do you need it to do?
Making the list will scratch that itch to get something done and will be a big help in your initial conversations with a web designer.

Create a Mood Board

Gosh, this might be my favorite. Mood boards are kind of new for me and might be for you too. It’s the basic idea behind Pinterest: gathering screenshots and sample material of things you like that you want to influence your web design.
You can use Pinterest for new web design help (I did) or just take notes on what you like and don’t like about your old website. That’s kind of a mood board as well. Any reflection and planning you can do on your own helps your web designer.

Take New Pictures

I’m going to get serious for a minute. Bad pictures will derail your web design. There are cool things I want to design for you, but your bad pictures won’t let me. You’ll always be left wanting “more” and it won’t be my fault.
Pictures are important because people love pictures. They are the best witness for your business.
Before you begin a web design get new headshots of your employees and take pictures of your building’s exteriors and interiors. Take action shots of customers using your product and your employees on the site doing a great job. If you sell specific products, take all-new product shots.
Quick note: There’s a chicken-and-the-egg problem with web design and photographs. Your web designer might say he can’t do anything because you don’t have pictures. But you might say you don’t know what pictures to take because you don’t have a web design to put them in.
Take as many pictures beforehand as you can. Ask your photographer to set you up with some basics and trust their judgment when it comes to additional photos. Keep the photographer “on call” to take more photos if your web designer has a special request.

Shoot an Intro Video

You know what’s more fun than having your picture taken? Seeing yourself on video! I’m kidding, it’s horrible watching yourself. But you may just have to get over it. Because video has taken over the internet.
Consider shooting an introductory video. Something to place on your homepage that does a quicker, better job of explaining your company than a box of 400 words.
Something else to think about? Shooting a silent background video. This element would be used like an animated wallpaper behind other content. Check out these examples for a better idea. Your web designer may be able to help you plan this in more detail as well.
Having fun yet? You’re all busy shooting pictures and videos, making mood boards and wish lists. Hate to ruin the party. But there’s a few not-so-fun things you should think about too.

Not-So-Fun Things To Do

These items might get scary, so they don’t have a spot on the fun list. But they’re just as important.
Please, please work with your in-house marketing or a consultant to review your branding top to bottom. A new web design is really an extension of your branding. Have you ever heard the phrase “garbage in, garbage out”? If your logo and branding looks bad to start with, it will ruin the success of your website, even with a new design.
While you’re looking at your branding, you might start to have questions about other items. It’s not a bad idea to review and update your overall marketing strategy. Actually, it’s a fantastic idea. Before I design your website I want to know your main objective, your overall business goals and even your past website traffic to get a better vision for your site.
Are you ready to start a new web design? It can either be the last, best domino to complete a fantastic, well-planned setup. Or you can force it to be the first, setting off a messy cascade of rushed projects. Take care of your branding and strategy first. Let that inform your wish list, mood board and help you pick the best shots for those pictures. You’ll have a lot more fun!
Roundpeg is an Indianapolis web design firm.